Testing kits to catch motorists high on drugs could be available to police within the year.
The Government has announced that ‘drugalysers’ able to screen for a range of substances including cocaine and ecstasy will be installed at every police station by 2012.
The move means officers will no longer have to wait for permission from a doctor before a blood test could be taken to be used as evidence.
Research has suggested 10% of drivers between 18 and 29 admit to getting behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“At last the technology has caught up with the political will and the public mood. The trialling of this equipment shows ministers are serious about tackling the drug-driving problem. Its use will speed up the detection process freeing officers to do other tasks.”
The news comes a day after provisional figures showed the number of deaths in drink-drive related accidents fell to an all time low, falling from 400 in 2008 to 380 in 2009.
Figures also showed that in the first quarter of 2010, 420 people died in road accidents, 24% fewer than in the same period in the previous year.